It seeks to roll back the influence of the United States in the region and to work towards Israel’s destruction.At a conference on “Iran, Nationalism, History, and Culture” in Tehran in March 2015, Ali Younesi, a senior adviser on intelligence matters to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, outlined a clear vision for Iranian regional hegemony.Iran is actively supporting proxies in major conflicts in the following areas: Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.In addition, there is evidence that Iranian agencies are active among Shi’i populations – as yet without major effect – in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Younesi’s statements are not, of course, a failsafe guide to policy.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action adopted in October of 2015 has produced no major impact on the pattern of Iranian regional commitments.
However, the release of tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief has enabled the Iranians, who were in some danger of overstretch, to now freely commit to supporting more strongly their various allies and proxies in the Middle East.
There are several motivating forces behind Iran’s drive to create geographical continuity in the region.
There is an obvious strategic interest for Iran in having access to the Mediterranean, which has been a feature of Iranian and Persian state policy from antiquity.